9/11 at the White House

We’re just a few days past the 13th anniversary of 9/11, like many people, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

I was at home in bed when the first plane hit the twin towers.  I was in college and off of school that day.  My mom came running up stairs to my room telling me that New York was under attack.  In my groggy, just woken from slumber state, I remember thinking that it was too early for a baseball game.  My brain processed my mom’s message in baseball terms of them losing pretty bad.

I went downstairs to the living room and watched the endless replay of the impacts as well as the following crashes.  It was pre-cell phone era still in our household so we couldn’t get a hold of my sister who was out running her errands.  Not knowing what was going to happen next, mom and I decided to go gas up our cars and go to the grocery store for some essentials.  We managed to go to the filling station before they decided to sell a gallon of gas above $8.  (Luckily that only lasted for a little while before they were ordered to lower the prices).

I remember I didn’t feel safe until I saw President Bush speaking on TV that night.  There was one speech that I saw, he wasn’t in the Oval Office, but standing at a skinny podium somewhere.  I remember so vividly seeing him crying.

This is just a brief account of my 9/11 memories.  What I wanted to write about for this Sentimental Sunday post, was my 9/11/2006 experience.

September 2006 I was a White House Intern.  It was only our 2nd week so everything was still new to me.  I was used to security, but I guess I wasn’t prepared for an all out blockage of Pennsylvania Ave.  Normally I got off the subway from my apartment at the McPherson Square stop and walked through Lafayette Square park to get to the office.  But that day, I was not allowed to exit the park, even though all I had to do was cross the street and I was there.  I had left early enough because there was to be a special 9/11 ceremony on the South Lawn……. but not early enough for a detour.   I had to go all the way out of my way just to arrive at the same destination.  Being that I wasn’t used to wearing these fancy dress shoes it took me a long time.

So after going through regular security and getting to my office….the interns had already left for the ceremony.  I was upset, but sat at my desk, ready to work.  I sat in the room with my two immediate supervisors.  I was asked why I wasn’t at the ceremony and I explained my dilemma.  One of my supervisors told me I could go with him and he escorted me to the South Lawn of the White House.  I was given a flag pin to wear on my suit lapel. 

He and I stepped out onto the lawn and found a office co-worker and stood by her.  The lawn was divided into two rows.  I could see from the colored badges that all of the interns were on one side of the grass, and I was on the opposite side with the cabinet and upper level staff members.  I closed my coat around my badge so no one else could see who I was.

I didn’t know what the ceremony was going to entail.  I hadn’t seen the President yet, so I was kind of hoping that he would be there.  If I had been thinking intelligently, obviously he was going to be at other commemorative events in New York and such.  

I was in a state of awe like I had never been before in my life, when the doors opened and I saw who was being escorted by Vice President Cheney.  It was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Oh My God !  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Here is a photo from that morning.  You can’t see me in the picture, but I am standing behind the woman in white on the upper left hand corner of the picture.  In the background you see the soldiers holding the flags, and the one on the left has a rifle.  To the left of him is the woman in white and I am behind her.  

The tragedy of 9/11 will never be forgotten, and neither will this event I attended to honor those who were lost during the terror attacks.  

This photo is from the White House website which is now in archive status but still accessible here. White House Archive Web Site      

Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney stand with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain for a moment of silence on the South Lawn September 11, 2006, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Water on Mars – ShyBoy

I don’t keep up with much popular music.  It usually happens that someone gives me a song or cd to introduce me to it and I like it that way, but I don’t listen on a regular basis, so I’ll admit that I don’t know what’s hot, whose it, etc. 

I was listening to some Bob Crane on Soundcloud so maybe that’s why they had suggested a song called Marion Crane (similar name- also a good song inspired by Alfred Hitchcock).  Well because of that suggestion, I found a new artist that I like.  His name is ShyBoy and his debut album Water on Mars was released in late 2013.  Water on Mars is one of my favorite songs.  Here are the lyrics (as interpreted by me) and below is a YouTube video. 

Water On Mars by ShyBoy.

Written by Jason Arnold, Wendy Waldman, Abe Parker & Mark Nubar

Gotta get out 
But there’s nowhere to go
At least on this earth
Nothing left for me to know
They found water on mars
Tell em I’m here & I’m ready to go

I’ll leave here today 
I’ll fly away

Blast me off on a rocket 
Let me sail into space
Take me away
Let me start a brand new day
Away from the hatred
And the greed
And the violence
They all seem to need
Blast me off on a rocket
My new life awaits

A brand new start 
If there’s water on mars
There’s more life than this
Out there in the infinite dark
A new life in space
Beyond the moon & the stars

I’ll fly away 
I’ll leave here today
I’ll find my way

Leave all the noise on the streets 
And the killing disease
With the kids & thier guns
The unfortunate ones
All the sadness & pain
Never see them again
All I want is a new place to be

Take me away 
I want sail into space
I’ll fly away
Start a brand new day
Away from the voices
In my head
Away from the life
I lead
Blast me off on a rocket
My new life awaits

I’m leaving today 
My new life awaits

Gaelic Storm


I have a sizeable autograph collection. So many that you’d think I’d be a pro at getting them in person without getting nervous or hysterical deafness. I guess just because of my naturally shy and quiet persona, whether I’m nervous or very calm, I just can’t seem to get it together when I’m standing in front of a famous person. So many things are running through my head and I can’t get them to connect to my mouth- and another opportunity is always lost.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to meet my 2nd favorite music group, Gaelic Storm. (yea 2nd….sorry guys, but no one goes in front of The Monkees). They were performing all weekend at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. I look forward to this weekend all year. Milwaukee has a lot of popular and fun ethnic festivals along the shore of Lake Michigan during the summer that I enjoy, but there’s something about being around “your people” that makes it more fun.   I’m 49% Irish with 1% French from one side of my family and the other is 49% Polish, 0.5% Russian, and 0.5% German. I love to hear all the bagpipes and tapping and seeing my favorite color green, eating the stereotypical potatoes and stew, tossing Wellies down the yard and dressing like Leprechauns.   All that being said, it’s not what drew me to Gaelic Storm.

Several years ago, I had purchased a new MP3 player and their song Scalliwag was pre-loaded on to it as sample music. I liked the song and decided to investigate the band some more and I’ve been hooked ever since. Gaelic Storm is Patrick Murphy, Steve Twigger, Peter Purvis, Ryan Lacey and Kiana Weber.

Last year, they came out with a new CD called “The Boathouse.” All of the songs are arrangements of traditional songs, except Watery Grave, which was written by Steven Twigger.  Available for purchase at live concerts and on gaelicstorm.com, this CD is part of their small batch sessions. The Boathouse was reportedly recorded in only a week in close to 14 hour sessions and was done in a makeshift studio on a friend’s boathouse in Maryland. Wonderful place for inspiration for this group of songs! Kiana writes more about the production of the CD here. http://kianajuneweber.com/the-boathouse/  

I truly like all of Gaelic Storm’s albums with their comedic lyrics and energetic instrumentals, but so far the Boathouse CD is my favorite. I have an inclination to pick out the songs they have about boats and sailing and pirates as my favorites.  (I love being by the water, so much so I’m even a submarine tour guide.)  Scattered throughout the band’s CD catalog, you can find similar songs that feel like they would fit in to that old time seafaring genre such as, Devil Down Below, Lover’s Wreck, Turn This Ship Around, Whichever Way The Wind Blows, and the afore mentioned Scalliwag just to name a few.

I was inspired by The Boathouse CD insert to put together a collage in a frame to get autographed. I worked hard the past two weeks on coming up with the perfect design, knowing that I had a deadline of this Saturday. I used my nautical rubber stamp collection and distressing techniques to create pieces that would complement the mounted CD insert. I chose a grey wood frame that reminded me of an old rotting boat. Also working on a time crunch I had to figure out which photographs I had taken from the concert the night before that I would print in sepia tone and also integrate into the collage. Being that I was not very close to the stage last night I spent the entire concert trying to get at least one photo of each of the band members that wasn’t blurry. (Hard task to complete when everyone is jumping around next to you)

With barely an hour to spare, I completed the collage and headed off to Irish Fest to get it autographed. When it was my turn in line and was standing in front of them, I wanted to tell them some of what I have said here, but I was just too nervous. I couldn’t even tell Steve how I had sort of made this with him in mind and had hoped he would like it. I think they did. It’s one of my favorite autographs, and I will always treasure it.  

Here are some close-up photos of the finished, autographed frame.

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William Shatner

Handwriting- a style in which characterizes a person.  It’s something uniquely theirs.  My own signature has changed over the years as I have taken a liking to the curve or straight lines of cursive letters which I have seen other people use.

Whatever the reason, I love collecting star autographs.  There’s something special about seeing your name being written in the moment on a piece of paper or photograph.  It’s transferring from the famous person’s brain to their hand, through the pen and forever onto the paper.  I see it as a fleeting moment in them that they are concentrating on you, making you special. That’s a lot to think about for the few seconds that the autograph is being created, so in reality, if you’re anything like me, you’re actually in a controlled hysteria causing you to stand there speechless; smiling like a fool before nervously walking away.

That reminds me of when I met William Shatner.  I’ve always been a Captain Kirk fan.  March 18, 2012 I got a chance to meet him in person.  He  bought his “It’s Shatner’s World and We Just Live In It” show to Milwaukee.  I chose to purchase the highest price ticket which would allow me to meet him backstage after the show.  Not to skip over the show and diminish how great it was (By the way I think it should be released on DVD I liked it so much), but this section is about autographs not shows.

I was very very nervous to even be in the same room with him.   Mr. Shatner was only going to be autographing posters from the show and nothing else in the way of Star Trek or other memorabilia.  We had our names written on a sticky note so he could personalize the poster and then pose for a picture.  This process would hopefully make the line run quickly and smoothly.  By the time it was my turn, the line may have been running too  smoothly and quickly.  I didn’t get to chat with Shat, but standing beside him was enough for me.  I posed for a nervous picture, took the autographed poster off of the table and began to take my first 2 steps away from the table when I heard him speak,

“Just hold on a minute. (pause)  Come back.”

It was like he had set phasers to stun and fired.  I was so afraid I had done something wrong as I turned to face him again.

“This poster is yours.  That guy before you walked away without his,” he explained.

I looked down and I was holding a poster made out with some man’s name on it.  Oh, Bill Shatner, if you hadn’t been paying such close attention, I may have had a useless souvenir on my wall right now.  I traded posters with Bill and thanked him.  He just nodded and went on to the next poster in front of him. I imagine if stars do this enough it does become quite mechanical.

This is one of my most prized autographs as I don’t think it’s that easy to get to meet William Shatner everyday.  Also the same reason why I paid so much. wpid-20140718_230559-1.jpg

Ring the Bells

With all the unrest across the globe, three songs came to mind this weekend; this one and Arlo Guthrie song and a Jim Croce song, all with a running peace theme.  This one won out, but don’t worry.  I’m sure the other two songs will pop up in a future post.  

Melissa Etheridge’s song “Ring The Bells” is a track on a Christmas Album called, A New Thought For Christmas. It was written by Salman Ahmad, Melissa L Etheridge.  The lyrics after the 1st chorus are my favorite. 

These are the lyrics, as interpreted.  Any errors, please let me know.  

I couldn’t find an official video so I chose one (below) that had some good visual representations


By Melissa Etheridge

As God is God, as light is light
Whose law is wrong? Whose might is right?
Here we are on the edge
The edge of change

I believe in peace, my only wish
I believe that we can co-exist
Let’s go further now
Than we’ve ever gone before

And ring the bells, ring the bells of change
Ring the bells every boy and every girl
Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace
All over the world

We’ve all been called to wake from sleep
To feel our power to create the dream
To step out from the dark
Past our fathers’ fear

Ring the bells, ring the bells of change
Ring the bells every boy and every girl
Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace
All over the world

Here we stand in unity
Making one choice to be free
Every truth blends into one
As we believe it shall be done

Here we stand as soldiers now
Turning our swords into plows
There is not a nobler clime
Achieving peace in our own time

I know peace begins with me
With all I feel and with all I see
And I know it’s no easy task
Removing our own fearful mask

But I have seen us rise and fall
Stand on the moon, tear down the wall
And I know we can do it all
And do it well, so ring the bells

Ring the bells, ring the bells of change
Ring the bells every boy and every girl
Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace
All over the world, all over the world

Ring the bells, ring the bells of change
Ring the bells every boy and every girl
Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace
All over the world, all over the world

Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace
Ring the bells, ring the bells
Ring the bells, ring the bells



Wicked Weather

This news story has probably been circulating around the internet the past few days.  It just caught up to me today.

In Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city, hail the size of golf balls pelted beach goers who were enjoying a near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degree Celsius) weather prior to the ice assault when a sudden change in the temperature dropped to about 20 C.  Seeking shelter under a tiny umbrella or towels couldn’t be much help


I’m a follower of Bill Nye the Science Guy so I am a believer that climate change is a serious issue that is far too often overlooked.  Freak weather occurrences like this can’t be swept under the rug.  

Then I saw another story (about Siberia again) where they found a strange hole in the ground.  It’s located far in the north in what they call the edge of the world on the Yamal Peninsula.  Experts have speculated that it could have been caused by a sink hole from an underground gas explosion or “a heap of Earth-covered ice that is found in the Arctic and subarctic, and if it was large enough, and melted, it potentially could have created a giant hole.  

How could something that size melt, without there being problems with the climate in the area?  I think people need to first agree that there is a problem and then work on how to fix it.  Pretending it isn’t a problem isn’t going to make it disappear.  

It’s not just Siberia, North America has it’s share of weather with an increase in greenhouse gasses,  radiation in the air, hurricane Sandy flooding Manhattan, polar vortex, ice floating in the great lakes into the month of June.   


groundhog day